Today’s kids missed out on Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run, the Claymation icons that characterized our early years. What they have instead is more advanced 3-D, CGI animated series and films, thanks to new animation technology. But perhaps most notably, they have a key piece of movie-making technology right in their pockets: iPhones.
And that detail opens some doors (and, yes, closes some – namely the ones that lead outside). The Plasticine Movie Maker Studio by Kahootz seizes this opportunity by providing tools that, when paired with an iPhone, produce a colorful Claymation studio where kids ages 5 and up are the director.
To create a character, kids can use the plastic knife provided to cut a strip of the Plasticine, which feels squidgy and satisfying even in adult hands. The instructions provide helpful guidelines for molding the shape of your character, but kids can customize the colors and details. Add some cardboard facial features, accessories, and props to make a truly unique character. Plus, kids can add a few toothpicks to make them stand upright, ready to take the stage.
To set the scene, fold the cardboard stage provided and chose one of the four included paper backdrops, such as a castle or the mountains. Then, download the free Stop Motion app and balance your phone on its side using the included foam stand.
To make a movie, kids simply take a photo of their character in its first position, then move it slightly and take another. They repeat this process over and over until their scene is complete. While it is very easy to get started, the activity as a whole does require patience, as each photo lasts only a split second (as our friend Ben Wyatt from Parks & Recreation is well aware). But, if you can be patient, it’s a rewarding experience.
This activity doesn’t take much cleaning aside from washing the stickiness from your hands and separating the Plasticine back into distinct colors. A simple and engaging activity, kids also have the potential to refine their motor and creative skills with the set.
What I love about the product is that kids can make films on their own at home – they don’t need family or friends to play the characters, additional equipment apart from a smart device they likely already have, or a ton of space or props. This set provides it all, and I can picture a young me spending hours executing my creative (and obviously Oscar-worthy) film ideas with this set instead of using my dad’s heavy, expensive video camera and drafting my siblings as actors. Plasticine, it turns out, is far more susceptible to my directions.